Betty’s Garden

Hoefstadstraat 22

3600 Genk

21 types of pear on one tree

"Betty’s Garden" is the endearing name given to a nearly forgotten backyard garden that was recently turned into a community gardening project in Winterslag, Belgium. Named after Betty who ran a popular record store and lived above it with her husband Jean, behind the store was a garden full of fruit trees, a fish pond, different types of grapes, etc.

Although it is now called "Betty’s Garden" the garden was in fact looked after by her husband who often invited locals to come and pick fruit and enjoy what the garden had to offer. Jean enjoyed bringing new types of plants from other parts of the world and seeing how they fared in the Belgian climate. One such effort saw him spend year after year grafting pieces of different types of pear trees onto one pear tree until finally he had 21 different types of pear growing on this one tree. The branches came from different places, flowered at different times, and the pears tasted and looked different from each other. The one thing they had in common, however, was that they were all connected to this one tree in Winterslag; rooted there.

Able to be seen from the local highway, Keep Forget painted a large mural on the wall that faces "Betty’s garden". An illustration of a pear tree, it includes a poem that celebrates this pear tree and its 21 types of pear as well as the languages and cultures of Winterslag; a metaphor for the neighbourhood itself.

Translation poem

Eén perenboom
A peartree
met alle rodzajami (soorten) en maten.
with all rodzajami (types) and sizes.
μεγάλα (dikke), kleine,
μεγάλα (fat), small,
akhdar (groene), gele,
akhdar (green), yellow,
met en zonder vlekjes...
With and without spots...
Sommige perfette (perfect) voor de pan
Some perfette (perfect) for the pan
of de torta (taart),
or the torta (cake),
anderen om te plukk en
others to pluck and
en yemek için (op te eten).
and yemek için (eat).

Deze tuin; symbool van ons.
This garden, a symbol of us.
Wij zijn anders,
We are different,
gelijk en diepgeworteld.
the same and deeply rooted.
Tutaj, εδώ, hona, qui, aqui, burada,
Tutaj, εδώ, hona, qui, aqui, burada,
(Hier) in Winterslag.
(Here) in Winterslag.